at a grand temple, Tōshōdai-ji

Today I came to Tōshōdai-ji (唐招提寺) which is located in southwest in Nara city. The gate came within sight by a road in local and rustic town.

The main hall called Golden hall has eight stout columns at its facade, and they, as well as the shape of the roof with tiles, make this architecture significant .


This temple was established in 759 by Ganjin( 鑑真)(688~763) who had been a high Buddhist priest in China. According to the leaflet, " Ganjin Wajo decided to go to Japan. Overcoming the hardship that even took the loss of his eyesight, he crossed the ocean to arrive in Japan on his sixth such attempt in 753."

It is said that the difficulty for Ganjin was not only to travel overseas but also to leave China as he was already well known and important priest for his mother country.

As for travelling overseas I remember the scene, in a novel「天平の甍」"Tenpyo- no- iraka"(Tenpyo is a period , iraka means tiles on a roof), that massive numbers of handwritten books are sinking in the sea when the ship was wrecked.

The novel tells the story of Ganjin and also of ambitious Japanese students who went to China to learn. They dedicated themselves to write down Buddhism doctrine, as it was the main subject for them to learn at that era, and many of them got older until finally they came to be able to go back to Japan with their manuscripts. And then the travel itself was a great obstacle for them.

Many years have passed since I read the novel, yet I remember clearly the scene of the books sinking .
There are greenery yard and several paths in the precincts. Hundreds of leaves are flowing in the breeze.

It is said that haiku poet Bashō(1644~1694) wrote the following haiku facing up to the Seated Stature of Ganjin.


I wish

I could wipe your eyes

with a green leaf


  One of the paths led me to a yard where lotus were planted in some pots.
Some  are not yet blooming and some are flourish.

 As it is often said lotus flowers are symbolic for enlightenment, for the bright bloom after growing in the mud. Ganjin must have seen the brightness with his mental eyes.

Getting back to columns at the Golden hall, there is a stone at a corner of the precincts and the inscribed on it is a tanka by Yaich Aizu(1881~1956)in regard to these columns. 
おおてらの まろきはしらの つきかげを. つちにふみつつ ものをこそおもへ 会津 八一

Stepping on the shadows

of columns

at the grand temple

in a moon light

I think now is the time to ponder

The archtectures of  Tōshōdai-ji were designated World Heritage site in 1998.

25 件のコメント:

Sy さんのコメント...

These photos are beautiful! I'd love to visit Japan one day. Seems like such a beautiful place, rich in history and folklore. At uni I did a one year course on Japanese politics and popular culture, for one of my assignments I did a piece on Japanese poetry and literature. It was facinating!

Z さんのコメント...

What a beautiful place, Haricot, and so peaceful.

Jen さんのコメント...

The imagery of the handwritten books sinking is very powerful! How amazing that he made 6 attempts. I love the way you weave together nature, history and poetry here. The haiku is very moving, and I love the line "I think now is the time to ponder."



☆sapphire さんのコメント...

Thanks a lot for this Toshodaiji post! Oh So glad that it has been beautifully renovated!! The temples in Nara are usually much larger and grander than those in Kyoto. I always feel refreshed while walking on the extensive grounds of such temples. The lotus floweres are lovely!!


stardust さんのコメント...


cosmos さんのコメント...


Celeste さんのコメント...

Un merveilleux endroit qui aspire à la sérénité.......
J'aime beaucoup les photos de lotus qui pour moi est la fleur "divine"
Je vous souhaite un bon weekend.
Amicalement Celeste

Dave King さんのコメント...

Wonderful imagery of Golden Hall.
Basho's Haiku is, of course, fine, but the tankf probably the top spot. It is both beautiful and profound.

haricot さんのコメント...

I'm glad to hear your experience of study Japanese literature and culture in University.
Now I'm belonged to reading class in which we can learn English literature.

Thank you for your visiting. This place is calm and few visitors except the terms some events are held in, and the enviroment makes me happy.


Thank you for your heartful comment as usal. I'm glad to hear your opinion about what I described and the poems I chose.






J'ai vu "water lily" dans votre blog. Elle est tres belle aussi!
Bon demanche a vous et merci beaucoup pour votre commentaire tres gentile!


Thank you for your reading.
I like this tanka very much, and I think you would like Basho's other haikus, and you would understand his spirit better than I.

Magia da Inês さんのコメント...

Muito, muito bonito.
Principalmente as flores.
♡ Boa semana!

haricot さんのコメント...


Thank you very much. I'm glad to hear you like the flowers ♬

sarah さんのコメント...


haricot さんのコメント...



ruma さんのコメント...

Hello, haricot.

  It is my joy to share your wonderful work.
  And sweet message charms my heart.

  I pray for your happiness and world peace.

Have a good weekend. ruma ❃

今、この一瞬を さんのコメント...



haricot さんのコメント...


As the news report about the flood in Shiga prefecture, I was anxious about you and tried to write Email for you. Now I'm relieved to see your kind comment here.
Thank you very much.



Magia da Inês さんのコメント...

♥ Bom fim de semana!
♡ Beijinhos.

snowwhite さんのコメント...

The main hall of the temple is one of my favorite structures. Last year I came here to enjoy lotus flowers, but I could not see the flowers of precious kinds, 孫文蓮 or 奈良蓮 and so on. Many temples grow lotus flowers, but i think lotus flowers fit this temple the most because of Ganjin. I am very happy to travel this lovely temple. Thanks a lot.


haricot さんのコメント...

Thanks (^^)¸❤✿•.

I remember your post of this temple on a rainy day. They were chic photos, and I really want to take some photos like yours!
Thank you for visiting.

Elena di V. さんのコメント...

So peaceful, so rich coloured!.. I love those geometric shapes and poetry lines. Thank you very much!

haricot さんのコメント...

Thank you for your visit.
The place was calm and classical.
I'm not Buddhist but it is fine to be there thinkng about the great priest.

Minoru さんのコメント...

こんばんは。 初めまして。素晴らしいブログと英語に感動致しました。
 あわて者の私はHaircut Tanaka. と書いて有る様に見えました。

haricot さんのコメント...


In My Wild Eden さんのコメント...

It all feels so peaceful. The story about the sinking books made me sad.

haricot さんのコメント...

Thank you for your kind comment.
Yes, the scene is very sad, though their enthusiasm is great...